Mario Cruz-ZayasInstructor, Spanish

Mario Cruz-Zayas

Born and raised in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, Mario Cruz is a Spanish Lecturer with a passion for the Spanish language and its evolution over time. With a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish from the University of Washington in Seattle, he specialized in linguistics, grammar and lexicon, Latin American poetry, film, essay, and fiction. He continued his education at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where he received a Master’s degree in Spanish with a focus on Learning and Teaching Methods, Latin American and Iberian Film, Spanish-American Story and Essay, Spanish-English Translation, Spanish Applied Linguistics, and 20th-century literature.

Mario strongly believes that motivation plays a crucial role in language learning, an idea supported by many experts in the field. As the renowned linguist, Stephen Krashen, once said, “The best methods are therefore those that supply ‘comprehensible input’ in low anxiety situations, containing messages that students really want to hear. These methods do not force early production in the second language, but allow students to produce when they are ‘ready’, recognizing that improvement comes from supplying communicative and comprehensible input, and not from forcing and correcting production.”

Mario has been nominated for the Excellence in Teaching award (2021), he was invited to join the Innovation and Impact Showcase (April 2021). In addition he has developed his skills in Active learning strategies, Authentic assignments (simulates authentic tasks for the professionals in the field), Creative & artistic performances, Diversity, equity, and inclusion, Effective assessment strategies (innovative formative and/or summative assessment strategies), Learning communities, Place-based learning, Project-based learning, Service learning, community-based learning, Student interaction and collaboration strategies, Technology tools.

Spanish 1st and 2nd year
Office: Moore Hall 428  | Phone: (808) 956-4196